IFRS Implementation in Listed Companies – Identification of Factors Leading to Inconsistent Application
Abstract. This paper presents an exploratory study of factors that lead to inconsistent application of International Financial Reporting Standards (IFRS). We study the reasons for diversity in implementation of IFRS. The literature suggests a large number of different factors that help explain accounting choices, both deliberate and non-deliberate. We use accounting practice as a starting point. Through observation two cases are studied. First, the entire process of IFRS implementation is studied, from local GAAP to full IFRS. Second, we study purchase price allocation in business combinations accounted for according to IFRS 3. The method used is participant observation, where the researcher participated in the actual application of IFRS in selected listed companies. All observations were done in a Swedish setting. We relate our findings to those factors suggested in the existing literature. Consistent with the literature we find that bonus plans, national legal setting and existing practice are influential factors. Additional factors, not discussed much in the literature, are lack of resources and knowledge, and the development of local practice. We also find an interaction between existing practice and economic choice, suggesting that combining different parts of the accounting choice literature would be beneficial.
School of Business, Economics and Law, Gothenburg University
Department of Business Administration